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The Importance of Combating Rigid Beauty Standards

Beauty is subjective. Beauty standards are constantly changing, and with them, our insecurities are changing as well. The rise of social media has contributed to unrealistic standards for bodies, leading teenagers to believe that they’re not good enough if they don’t have a certain body type. Especially with the popular app TikTok, new levels of the so-called “imperfection” have surfaced, including wide rib cages, back profiles, and other widely absurd views as to how someone should look. Many fail to realize that the beauty industry has a large part in creating trends and that it “capitalizes” on the teenage body image. Makeup companies often advertise using certain parts of the face, which leads to many teenagers buying their products to get the desired look.

While many argue that beauty standards and body image aren't pressing issues, the fact of the matter is that society views those who do not fit into the beauty standard of today negatively. They are often looked down upon, and not given the same opportunities. According to Business Insider, those that are considered attractive “get called back for job interviews'' more frequently. Additionally, those that have an unconventional body shape “earn less and have a harder time finding work” (BBC). People with unconventional body shapes often also suffer from depression and anxiety more often.

As part of the next generation, we have the ability to change the traditional viewpoints of society, in which people value attractiveness, race, and wealth over personal qualities. Too many times, someone who has passion and ability is rejected on a superficial basis, or assumed to be unqualified. At times like these, social media has value. With insecurity levels rising on TikTok, body-positive creators such as Sienna Mae Gomez and Brooklynne Webb have pledged to show their natural bodies, even with acne, cellulite, and stretch marks, to normalize “flaws” and challenge the belief that everyone on social media has to be perfect. With more influencers like Sienna and Brooklynne, many are now confident in their own bodies, regardless of their imperfections.

While social media can be negative, there are ways to filter the "For You" (Tiktok) and "Explore" (Instagram) pages. If something is too harsh or may seem provocative, press the "Not Interested" button on a certain video or post. That way, the social media site can cater posts towards your needs. Social media can be harmful, especially with the promotion of rigid beauty standards. However, it can also be beautiful, inclusive, and refreshing, making others feel safe and valued. By supporting body-positive creators and continuing to challenge rigid beauty standards, we as the next generation can make our world a more inclusive place.

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